Designing a System for Playful Coached Learning in the STEM Curriculum

Korn, Oliver; Rees Adrian, Dix, Alan:

Educational Playgrounds: How Context-aware Systems Enable Playful Coached Learning

In: SmartLearn ’17 Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Workshop on Intelligent Interfaces for Ubiquitous and Smart Learning, pp. 31-37

DOI = 10.1145/3038535.3038538

Text on ResearchGate


We present the design outline of a context-aware interactive system for smart learning in the STEM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). It is based on a gameful design approach and enables “playful coached learning” (PCL): a learning process enriched by gamification but also close to the learner’s activities and emotional setting.

After a brief introduction on related work, we describe the technological setup, the integration of projected visual feedback and the use of object and motion recognition to interpret the learner’s actions. We explain how this combination enables rapid feedback and why this is particularly important for correct habit formation in practical skills training. In a second step, we discuss gamification methods and analyze which are best suited for the PCL system. Finally, emotion recognition, a major element of the final PCL design not yet implemented, is briefly outlined.


The paper was presented on March 13 at the SmartLearn ’17, a workshop within the ACM IUI 2017,
the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Intelligent User Interfaces Community

Educational Playgrounds: How Context-aware Systems Enable Playful Coached Learning

Korn, Oliver; Dix, Alan:

Educational Playgrounds: How Context-aware Systems Enable Playful Coached Learning

In: Interactions, 24(1), 54–57, 2016
DOI = 10.1145/3012951


In this article, we present the vision of a context-aware system that supports educators and offers students what we call playful coached learning (PCL).


  • A system that is aware of real-world interactions strongly contributes to the user’s sense of interaction and exchange.
  • Adding gamification is not enough. PCL should also consider a student’s emotions.
  • Learning with a context-aware system can be a relief for students and educators, increasing their autonomy.
  • PCL is a good example of a combinatory innovation.

Delphi Study on Emotion Recognition within Workshop @ AAL-Forum 2016

AAL Forum 2016 KeynoteThe AAL Forum 2016 takes place in St. Gallen from September 26 to 29. Gerald Bieber from Fraunhofer IGD and Oliver Korn are chairing Workshop 28: From Recognizing Motion to Emotion Awareness – Perspectives for Future AAL Solutions:

There are several examples for the successful use of sensor-based motion recognition, e.g. for fall prevention or rehabilitation of elderly persons. However, motivation is always key when it comes to redundant exercises. While motion recognition helps to ensure a movement is performed correctly, emotion recognition can help to ensure an exercise is performed regularly.

The contribution of the workshop is three-fold. We will investigate best practices using motion recognition, show some potentials of emotion recognition and finally will develop perspectives for the application of emotion recognition in existing and future AAL solutions. The last section will be integrated in a Delphi study.

By Oliver on July 25th, 2016 in assistive technology, gamification, HCI, HMI, publications

Gamification of Production? A Study on the Acceptance of Gamified Work Processes in the Automotive Industry

Korn, Oliver; Muschick, Peter; Schmidt, Albrecht:

Gamification of Production? A Study on the Acceptance of Gamified Work Processes in the Automotive Industry

In: Advances in Affective and Pleasurable Design. Proceedings of the AHFE 2016 International Conference, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, New York, NY, USA, 2016
DOI = 10.1007/978-3-319-41661-8_42


In this work, we investigate how gamification can be integrated into work processes in the automotive industry. The contribution contains five parts:

(1) An introduction showing how gamification has become increasingly common, especially in education, health and the service industry.

(2) An analysis on the state of the art of gamified applications, discussing several best practices.

(3) An analysis of the special requirements for gamification in production, regarding both external norms and the mindset of workers in this domain.

(4) An overview of first approaches towards a gamification of production, focusing on solutions for impaired workers in sheltered work organizations.

(5) A study with a focus group of instructors at two large car manufacturers. Based on the presentation of three potential designs for the gamification of production, the study investigates the general acceptance of gamification in modern production and determines which design is best suited for future implementations.

Full Text


This work will be presented at the conference
AHFE ’16: 7th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (July 27-31) in Orlando, FL, USA


Computerized Assessment of the Skills of Impaired and Elderly Workers

Korn, Oliver; Tso, Leslie; Papagrigoriou, Christos; Sowoidnich, Yannic; Konrad, Robert; Schmidt, Albrecht:

Computerized Assessment of the Skills of Impaired and Elderly Workers. A Tool Survey and Comparative Study

In: PETRA ’16 Proceedings of the 9th Int. Conference on PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2016
DOI = 10.1145/2910674.2910675


The number of impaired persons rises – as a result of both regular degradation with age and psychological problems like burnout. Sheltered work organizations aim to reintegrate impaired persons into work environments and prepare them for the re-entry in the regular job market.

Both for elderly and for impaired persons it is crucial to quickly assess the abilities, to identify limits and potentials and thus find work processes suitable for their skill profile.

This work focuses on the analysis and comparison of software-tools that assess the abilities of persons with impairments. We describe two established generic tools (CANTAB, Cogstate), analyze a yet unknown specialized tool (Hamet) and present a new gamified tool (GATRAS).

Finally we present a study with 20 participants, comparing the tools against a ground truth baseline generated by a realworld assembly task


This work will be presented at the conference
PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments
PETRA ’16 (June 29 – July 01) on Corfu Island, Greece.


By Oliver on February 9th, 2016 in assistive systems, conferences, gamification, HCI, publications

Gamification of a Workday. A Study on the Effects in Sheltered Employment

Korn, Oliver; Lang, Johannes; Korge, Andreas; Causegic, Haris; Schmidt, Albrecht:

Gamification of a Workday. A Study on the Effects in Sheltered Employment

CHI-16-LBW-gamification-workdayIn: CHI ’16 Extended Abstracts of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2016
DOI = 10.1145/2851581.2892283


Gamification implies the application of methods and design patterns from gaming to non-gaming areas like learning or working. We applied an existing gamification design to production processes in an organization which provides sheltered employment for impaired persons.

In contrast to existing work, we investigated not only a short period but a complete workday to measure the effects on the performance of impaired workers.

The study indicates that gamification has
(1) a negative effect on workers with considerable cognitive impairments,
(2) no measurable effect on workers with medium cognitive impairments and
(3) a positive effect on workers with mild cognitive impairments.


This work will be presented at CHI ’16 (May 7-12) in San Jose, California, USA.

By Oliver on January 17th, 2016 in games, HCI, KORION, publications

Call for Chapters: PCG in the Game Industry

Spaceship with procedurally generated configuration (KORION)

Spaceship with procedurally generated configuration (KORION)

Together with Newton Lee I am currently editing a book for the
Springer International Series on Computer Entertainment & Media Technology:

Procedural Content Generation in the Game Industry: Best Practices and Perspectives


Call for Chapter Proposals, by February 29, 2016


Procedural content generation (PCG) uses algorithms to create levels, items or story elements in games at runtime. The purpose of this book is to provide a hands-on overview on the application and the potentials of PCG.

The book is intended for game developers, computer scientists and gaming enthusiasts.

While there will be some historical and mathematical background on PCG, the focus lies on the actual application of PCG methods in games and game studies. The book will present a wide range of best practices ranging from platform games to sci-fi strategy, from indie to AAA; we are also interested in contributions on the economic and organizational potentials and challenges of projects where PCG was used.

The book draws upon an interdisciplinary approach. We invite contributions from researchers and practitioners from Game Studies, Computer Sciences, Human-Computer Interaction, Psychology and other disciplines.


Procedural Content Generation in the Game Industry is structured in three sections.

  • section 1 briefly describes the historical and mathematical background of PCG
  • section 2 represents the book’s main body: here best practices are presented. While we are especially interested in user experience studies, more technical topics are welcome
  • section 3 examines the economic and organizational potentials and challenges of projects where PCG was used


Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Game Design for games with procedurally generated content
  • User Experience (UX) Studies on games with PCG elements
  • PCG algorithms and tools, e.g. Perlin noise
  • History of PCG use in games, from Rogue to Borderlands and beyond
  • Organizational and management strategies related to PCG
  • Economic impact of PCG


In the first step, researchers and practitioners are invited to submit a 2-page (max. 1200 words) chapter proposal explaining the mission and concerns of their proposed chapter by February 21, 2016. Author anonymity is not required in this step.

Please use the Easy Chair submission system:

or send the abstract to:


Important Dates

  • February 29, 2016: Proposal Submission Deadline (abstract, max. 1200 words)
  • March 06, 2016: Notification of Proposal Acceptance
  • June 12, 2016: Full Chapter Submission
  • July 24, 2016: Review Results Returned
  • September 25, 2016: Final Chapter Submission
  • October 23, 2016: Final Chapter Acceptance Notification

All submitted chapters are peer-reviewed on a single-blind review basis.
Contributors may also be asked to serve as reviewers.

By Oliver on November 12th, 2015 in games, HCI, publications, Uncategorized

Determining the Characteristics of Preferred Virtual Faces

Schwind, Valentin; Wolf, Katrin; Henze, Niels; Korn, Oliver:

Determining the Characteristics of Preferred Virtual Faces Using an Avatar Generator

In: CHI PLAY ’15 Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, pp. 221-230, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2015
DOI = 10.1145/2793107.2793116


Video game developers continuously increase the degree of details and realism in games to create more human-like characters. But increasing the human-likeness becomes a problem in regard to the Uncanny Valley phenomenon that predicts negative feelings of people towards artificial entities.

We developed an avatar creation system to examine preferences towards parametrized faces and explore in regard to the Uncanny Valley phenomenon how people design faces that they like or reject. Based on the 3D model of the Caucasian average face, 420 participants generate 1341 faces of positively and negatively associated concepts of both gender. The results show that some characteristics associated with the Uncanny Valley are used to create villains or repulsive faces. Heroic faces get attractive features but are rarely and little stylized. A voluntarily designed face is very similar to the heroine. This indicates that there is a tendency of users to design feminine and attractive but still credible faces.


This work was presented at CHI PLay ’15 in London.

Ethical Implications Regarding Assistive Technology at Workplaces

Behrendt, Hauke; Funk, Markus; Korn, Oliver:
Assistive Systems for the Workplace: Towards Context-Aware Assistance

In: Collective Agency and Cooperation in Natural and Artificial Systems. Springer, 2015. pp 109-130
DOI = 10.1007/978-3-319-15515-9_6


It is the purpose of this paper to address ethical issues concerning the development and application of Assistive Technology at Workplaces (ATW). We shall give a concrete technical concept how such technology might be constructed and propose eight technical functions it should adopt in order to serve its purpose.

Then, we discuss the normative questions why one should use ATW, and by what means. We argue that ATW is good to the extent that it ensures social inclusion and consider four normative domains in which its worth might consists in. In addition, we insist that ATW must satisfy two requirements of good workplaces, which we specify as

(a) an exploitation restraint and

(b) a duty of care.

By Oliver on May 4th, 2015 in assistive systems, assistive technology, HCI, HMI, publications

Design Approaches for the Gamification of Production Environments. A Study Focusing on Acceptance

PETRA-2015-Workplace-with-GamificationKorn, Oliver; Funk, Markus; Schmidt, Albrecht:

Design Approaches for the Gamification of Production Environments. A Study Focusing on Acceptance

In: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments, ACM,
New York, NY, USA, 2015
DOI = 10.1145/2769493.2769549


Gamification is an ever more popular method to increase motivation and user experience in real-world settings. It is widely used in the areas of marketing, health and education. However, in production environments, it is a new concept. To be accepted in the industrial domain, it has to be seamlessly integrated in the regular work processes.

In this work we make the following contributions to the field of gamification in production: (1) we analyze the state of the art and introduce domain-specific requirements; (2) we present two implementations gamifying production based on alternative design approaches; (3) these are evaluated in a sheltered work organization. The comparative study focuses acceptance, motivation and perceived happiness.

The results reveal that a pyramid design showing each work process as a step on the way towards a cup at the top is strongly preferred to a more abstract approach where the processes are represented by a single circle and two bars.


This work was presented at the PETRA 2015 in Korfu, Greece.